Russia insists on tech transfer in French warship deal
Russia's top naval commander Saturday insisted its purchase of French warships would only go ahead if there were a transfer of technology, warning that otherwise there was "no point" in the deal.
The comments by Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky come a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy assured workers at a French shipyard that the decision to go ahead with the deal was "certain".
"What is important here is to obtain the possibility of a transfer of key, fundamental technologies... not just in ship building but in several other areas," Vysotsky told the Echo of Moscow radio.
"This is without doubt the main condition for this transaction. If this does not happen then there is no point in undertaking this," he added.
"We do not need the ship but we do need its possibilities."
Russia has been negotiating with France for months to buy the Mistral-class helicopter carriers but the deal has yet to be finalised, with the issue of technology transfer apparently the main sticking point.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told AFP last month that Moscow would only go ahead with the deal if it included a transfer of the technology that makes the Mistral one of the most powerful in the French fleet.
The deal would be the first sale of advanced military hardware to Russia by a NATO country.
© 2010 AFP